Bizarre day in Queenstown court


IT was court room drama at its most bizarre.

Frankton man Cohen James Glass, 40, ran his own defence in the Queenstown District Court before Judge Kevin Phillips on Monday, denying assaulting bouncer David Orpin on November 10 last year in Queenstown.

Glass’ behaviour included refusing to confirm his name, constant interjections, the occasional “objection” and irrelevant lines of questioning.

Judge Phillips threatened him - several times - with contempt of court, and reminded him it was “not Dallas or some American [soap opera]”.

When the matter was called, Glass stood, but told Judge Phillips his name was “Jim”.

He was asked repeatedly if he was the defendant, Cohen James Glass, and responded - repeatedly - he had given that name “under duress”.

Judge Phillips told Glass to remove his hands from his pockets, the defendant responded “these aren’t my pockets”.

When asked if he was representing himself, the online blogger replied: “I am appearing as a sovereign, sir.”

Glass was charged following an incident at Barmuda last year, when Orpin asked him to leave the premises, based on information he’d been harassing two women.

CCTV footage from inside and outside the Searle Lane premises was shown, the latter showing Glass walking out the door, making a gesture with his hands – which Mr Orpin alleged was one of throat-slitting - lunging at the bouncer and punching him three to four times before running off. Orpin gave chase.

Another bouncer “tackled” Glass before he and Orpin restrained him until police arrived.

During Glass’ extensive cross-examination of Orpin, he asked wide-ranging questions including “would you agree the door [to the bar] is rectangular shaped?”

He also asked what Orpin’s salary was and if he had read media reports of bouncers getting reparation after assaults.

Judge Phillips asked if he was suggesting Orpin was “making the story up” to get reparation.

Glass denied that.

“I’m looking for a motive for the act,” Glass said, alleging as he was walking out the door Orpin had said “Wait until you get outside” before “ribbing” him in the back.

His reaction was one of self defence.

Orpin’s alleged assault was not captured on the CCTV footage as he was in a blind spot.

“You don’t see him at all … he’s like a magician,” Glass said.

Earlier he asked for the record to show he didn’t believe in magic.

Glass also produced photos of bruises to various body parts received after being tackled and restrained and asked Mr Orpin to identify what was in one image, apparently showing a bruise to his thigh.

When Mr Orpin said he did not know what the photo showed, Glass replied: “It’s me in my underwear, I’m afraid.”

The defendant elected to give evidence, but when asked by Judge Phillips if he was the defendant charged with the alleged assault he responded: “I have an issue with the word ‘person’.”

Glass said he had two theories about why he was “deliberately attacked” that night.

The first was one of the women who sat next to him was the former girlfriend of either the DJ, bar manager or Mr Orpin.

The second was a British conspiracy theory, based on blog posts he had published about Jimmy Saville and his “close relationship” with Prince Charles.

“I have been suspicious that I was deliberately attacked that night because of my online journalism in regards to some of the allegations [relating to] the British Crown.”

Glass said the victim was British and the arresting officer was British.

He said he was now in a “British court”, with a British court manager, and a British prosecuting Sergeant.
“Well, you’ve got an Irish Judge,” Judge Phillips replied.

After the trial, which lasted nearly four hours, Judge Phillips found the charge proved and entered the conviction.

At sentencing Glass refused to accept one previous conviction for assault and was cagey when he was asked about his ability to pay a fine.

Judge Phillips sentenced him to 60 hours’ community work, with a reduction to reflect the treatment he received by Orpin and the other security officer who did not have “any legal right to do what they did” by tackling and restraining him.

For the record, Glass did “not consent”.

Otago Daily Times